EWSA split to help meet energy and water targets

Money needed to fund the country's water and energy projects will be successfully mobilised and services effectively provided following the transfer of responsibilities and property of former government-owned Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA Ltd) to privately-managed and owned companies.
Former Infrastructure Minister Prof. Silas Lwakabamba (L) hands over to his successor Minister James Musoni yesterday. Lwakabamba is the new education minister.  (John Mbanda)
Former Infrastructure Minister Prof. Silas Lwakabamba (L) hands over to his successor Minister James Musoni yesterday. Lwakabamba is the new education minister. (John Mbanda)

Money needed to fund the country’s water and energy projects will be successfully mobilised and services effectively provided following the transfer of responsibilities and property of former government-owned Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA Ltd) to privately-managed  and owned companies.

The reassurance was given by the new Minister for Infrastructure, James Musoni, at a news briefing held yesterday to explain different decisions made in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

The meeting approved a Prime Minister’s Order determining modalities of transfer of responsibilities and property of EWSA Ltd to private companies and appointed the companies’ leaders.

EWSA was replaced by Rwanda Energy Group, which owns Energy Development Company Ltd and Energy Utility Company Ltd that were created to manage energy production and energy maintenance respectively, as well as the Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd created to independently manage water resources.

“They (companies) will work in the spirit of the private sector to improve services. The reforms will help us achieve our targets,” Minister Musoni said.

Information from the Ministry of Infrastructure indicates that the country needs investments worth about $3 billion (around Rwf2 trillion) to increase access to water from the current 74 per cent to 100 per cent and access to electricity from 17 per cent to 70 per cent by 2018.

The money needed is about 20 per cent of the entire budget for the country’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2), which the government is implementing between 2013 and 2018 at the tune of Rwf10 trillion.

Through the private companies created to independently manage water, electricity generation, and electricity distribution and maintenance, Musoni said the needed financial resources to meet the set targets will be raised from private investors and the government.

The latter will now be considered among private shareholders in the created companies and leave them the independence to deliver services and collect revenues.

“These are profit-making institutions; they have the potential to be profitable and there is no reason why they can’t be,” the minister said.

Efficiency expected

In his 2013/2014 report tabled before Parliament in May this year, Auditor General Obadiah Biraro, gave EWSA a ‘disclaimer opinion’ because of gross mismanagement as discovered during the auditing exercise.

The now defunct EWSA was embroiled in the mismanagement of hundreds of millions of Rwandan francs and had failed to deliver on different energy production projects that the government hopes will boost targets to move Rwanda’s current electricity grid capacity from 110MW to 563MW by 2017.

But in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the government appointed Robert Nyamvumba, former deputy director-general for energy at the now defunct EWSA, to be the Managing Director for Energy Development Company Ltd.

He told The New Times last evening that his new job means he will be more focused on energy production working with private investors to ensure that energy is produced, while routine operations of maintenance and electricity distribution and revenue collections will be taken care by the Energy Utility Company Ltd.

The latter is now headed by Odette Mbabazi, a former Deputy Director General in charge of Corporate Services at the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).

Nyamvumba, an Electrical Engineer said the previous structure of EWSA meant that he was in charge of both his current job and Mbabazi’s tasks at the moment.

“You couldn’t have been efficient when managing all these tasks even if you were a genius,” he said in an interview, describing the reforms at EWSA as motivational.

“The efficiency is going to happen with the new companies. We will be closer to our clients,” Nyamvumba added.

The government appointed James Sano, former EWSA’s deputy director-general in charge of water and sanitation, as the Managing Director of the Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd.

Minister Musoni said EWSA is no more and that the newly created companies will maintain  EWSA’s staff for one year and then put in place what he called a “transparent” way to hire more employees and fire those the new companies don’t need.

 

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